Comparisons are often unavoidable when talking about music. It’s an even bigger obstacle when you get into genres that are firmly rooted in very specific sounds, especially if it’s a style that has had a major resurgence recently. More than likely, one band will influence another and before you know it, it’s mid 90s grunge all over again. But the latest style that I think this has become an issue for is garage rock, particularly when played by two person bands. It’s not a new idea and neither The White Stripes or Black Keys invented it, yet, not only are those two bands unfairly lumped together, but so are a whole host of other bands that may have been influenced by one or both. I could rattle off dozens of names of such bands here, but instead I’ll just point out that the common factor, the one thing all the successful bands in this mold need is energy. The Deaf Poets have it and their debut album, 4150 is a 36 minute ball of flaming caffeine.
The aptly titled “Fly” opens the album with a grunge riff that brings to mind Nirvana’s “Breed” before taking off into a joyful chorus of “I wanna fly.” But before you can figure out if this is indeed going to be all rooted in the 90s, we get “Pale Skin” which is something different altogether with an almost lounge inspired sound. This is garage rock in what must be an eclectic garage. These guys are doing something different and I want to see where they take it.
Sean Wouters (guitar, vocals) and Nicolas Espinosa (drums) sound great on this album, with a power and clarity that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from an indie garage duo. Standout rockers “Can’t Breathe,” “This Pain” and “Little Red Wagon” are the kind of thing you want to blast and pogo to. Then there are ballads like “Cold Cold Thieves,” which opens with a bluesy, almost gospel-flavored sound that winds up taking a turn towards a much more modern take on a power ballad, with swelling drums that wouldn’t be out of out of place in an arena. You just can’t pin these guys down. I haven’t had the chance to see these local guys live, but I intend to remedy that soon and I bet it will be intense.